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Public reminded not to bring in orchids without licence
Monday, January 23, 2006

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today (January 23) reminded the public not to bring into Hong Kong orchids without a licence on return from visits to other places.

A department spokesman said it was common for travellers returning from Mainland China, particularly around the Chinese New Year, to bring in orchids without a licence.

"A total of 64 seizures of orchids were made at customs checkpoints during the Chinese New Year last year, accounting for over half of the total seizures for the year," he said.

As orchids are facing the threat of extinction, import and export of the species are regulated under an international convention.

"Under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, trade in highly endangered wild orchids, such as slipper orchids, is prohibited.

"The import, export or possession of other wild orchids, including their parts and derivatives, requires a licence, which must be obtained in advance from the AFCD.

"As for artificially propagated orchids including their parts and derivatives, prior to the import and export of these items, they also require a valid export permit issued by the exporting country."

Anyone contravening the above provisions is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million, two years!| imprisonment and mandatory forfeiture of the specimens upon conviction, the spokesman added.

To remind travellers about the controls on importing orchids, AFCD has put up posters at control points.

For details, please call the Government hotline on 1823 or visit the related website on http://www.cites.org.hk.


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